It’s pretty obvious that sci-fi TV shows are pretty fond of aliens. Through the great expanses of TV history there have been plenty of alien life forms to grace the TV screen and we here at Guyism have waded through all the slimy skin, tentacles, multiple eyes and enlarged brains to put together this list of the most awesome TV aliens of all time.
Photo credit: scott*eric, Flickr
12 Invader Zim
With its black comedy and unique style of animation, Zim is a cult classic of sorts. The show revolved around Zim from the planet Irk, and followed his exploits as he sought to take over the world. However, much like his lab rat equivalents – Pinky and the Brain – these plots were typically foiled thanks to Zim’s bumbling or other unforeseen circumstances.
11 The Daleks
The Daleks are simultaneously one of the most feared and laughable aliens of all time. Featured on the classicly campy British show Dr. Who, these tiny tin cans look harmless, but are the scourge of the entire universe. Engineered to have the absence of every emotion except for hate, these little critters are hell-bent on conquering the entire universe. The Daleks also earn extra points for their classic catchphrase, “Ex-term-inate!”
10 Marvin the Martian
Did you know that Marvin the Martian only appeared in five of the original Looney Tunes cartoons? While surprising, this fact only serves as a testament to how awesome Marvin actually is. Despite this limited screen time, he’s built up a massive cult following and endured for over 60 years. In late 2011, the little Martian that could will even get his own feature film (starring Mike Myers).
Robin Williams has the sitcom Mork & Mindy to thank for his celebrity success. This first major acting role saw him as the title character – an alien who travels to earth in his one-man egg-shaped spaceship to observe human behavior. While cheesy and a bit on the hackneyed side of things, the show opened the door for a number of alien-themed sitcoms in the future (see next entry).
ALF was the party alien that every 80s kid wanted to hang out with. With his patented Hawaiian t-shirt and slacker attitude, it was clear that this was the older, hairier brother we all wish we had. Hailing from the planet Melmac, the show revolved mostly around ALF trying to eat cats and the Tanner family trying to keep him a secret from the rest of the world. One modern-day alien, American Dad’s Roger (who nearly made this list) was clearly influenced by ALF.
Yeah, Stitch got his start on the big screen, but the Lilo & Stitch TV series spin-off makes him fair game for this list. In many ways, Stitch can be described as an alien version of the pug dog breed. He’s so ugly he’s cute, he likes getting into trouble and he’s got a big heart. Add in a healthy dose of Elvis Presley moves, and it’s safe to say that Stitch is one awesome alien.
6 The Solomons
The Solomons of 3rd Rock From the Sun were essentially an updated version of the TV series Mork & Mindy (which itself was based partially off of My Favorite Martian). However, this 90s TV show boasted an entire family of aliens sent to earth to research human activity. When not communicating with their home-based boss, The Big Giant Head, the Solomons struggle to fit in with everyday life on earth.
5 Lord Nibbler
On Futurama, Leela’s pet Nibbler leads a dual life. By day, he’s a cuddly cute lap alien that spouts gibberish and poops dark matter into a diaper. By night, he’s a super-intelligent Nibblonian ambassador tasked with preserving peace throughout the universe. This juxtaposition is balanced carefully by the show’s writers – and serves to effectively cement Nibbler as both an adorable and essential addition to this list.
Everyone’s favorite Kryptonian has been featured in a number of media forms, including television. Given his legacy and supreme super powers, it’s pretty much unnecessary to detail why he is so incredibly awesome. However, here’s a brief list – x-ray vision, ability to fly, super strength, immovable set of morals and an uncanny ability to look good in spandex.
3 Kang and Kodos
Kang and Kodos have become a welcome treat on The Simpsons’ annual Treehouse of Horror. For 20 years, this alien odd couple has been attempting to take over earth. While these exploits usually fail, the pair has succeeded in enslaving the human race on a few occasions. However, it doesn’t take much more than a simple board with a nail in it to quickly restore peace to the town of Springfield.
It would be illogical to put together a list of famous TV aliens without including Spock. For eleven years, this intrepid alien served as the analytical foil to both Captain Christopher Pike and Captain Kirk. While his TV appearances are some of his best, the world cried together as his coffin was shipped out to deep space in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
1 Dr. Who
With over 30 seasons now in the bag, Dr. Who is one of the most iconic and long-lived aliens in television history. And though his form may change, his mission remains the same – to travel the depths of space in his TARDIS to fight evil and make the universe a better place for all. Throughout the years, eleven actors have portrayed the good doctor, and science fiction fans everywhere cheered when the series returned to television in 2005.